An Exercise in Forming a Good Twitter Bio

No-one reads your Twitter bio with care especially when they are surrounded by other bios and pictures. But you can create a Bio that will attract more of the right Followers not only from a glance but by appearing in topical search results too. 

Below I detail how I create them. Please feel free to add your comments at the end of the blog to share your best tips and ideas.

Below is a fictional academic departmental bio:

Originally an army medic, Professor John H. Watson M. D. Ph.D. joined the Department of Forensic Science and Psychology at the  prestigious London Holmes University in 2001. Dr Watson teaches courses in Criminal Psychopathy 101, Understanding Perverted Genius 221, and Army Medical Forensics. Recently awarded the Conan-Doyle prize for his research in child psychopathy, Prof. Watson adds this to his long list of merits as well as his most recent accolades for fictional writing. In his spare time Prof. Watson writes blogs and writes crime fiction, as well as tutoring at the Sherlock Boxing school for boys. John is husband to Mary and father of two.

Pick out the key elements and the bio is down to size. It already looks more like a Twitter bio. Note the separation of professional and personal with a line:

Medic, PhD and Professor of Forensic Science and Psychology at the London Holmes University Teaching Criminal Psychopathy and Army Medical Forensics. Winner of the Conan-Doyle Prize | Crime Fiction Writer who likes Boxing. I’m a Husband and Father.

Still too long at 244 characters – getting rid of superfluous words and taking out the punctuation the Bio is shortened to 171 characters:

Medic, PhD and Professor of Forensic Science and Psychology at the London Holmes University Teaching Criminal Psychopathy Army Medical Forensics and won the Conan-Doyle Prize | Crime Fiction Writer who likes Boxing. I’m a Husband and Father.

PhD Professor Forensic Science Psychology London Holmes University Teach Criminal Psychopathy Army Medical Forensics Conan-Doyle Prize | Crime Writer Boxing Husband Father

The name of the university takes up a lot of space and the institution have a Twitter account whose username @HolmesUni is shorter as does the Conan-Doyle Prize:

PhD Professor Criminal Forensic Science Psychology @HolmesUni Teach Criminal Psychopathy Army Medical Forensics @C-DoylePrize | Crime Writer Boxing Husband Father  (162 characters, still too long)

Now the list of taught courses is confusing so concatenating them will help:

PhD Professor Criminal Forensic Science Psychology @HolmesUni Teach CriminalPsychopathy Army Medical Forensics @C-DoylePrize | Crime Writer Boxing Husband Father (161 characters)

What words can be replaced for shorter without changing their meaning? (We still need space for some hashtags).

  • Professor = Prof
  • Father = Dad
  • Boxing -> Boxer

PhD Prof Criminal Forensic Science Psychology @HolmesUni Teach CriminalPsychopathy Army Medical Forensics @C-DoylePrize | Crime Writer Boxer Husband Dad

Having both PhD and Prof is needless reiteration so choose one.

Prof Criminal Forensic Science Psychology @HolmesUni Teach CriminalPsychopathy Army Medical Forensics @C-DoylePrize | Crime Writer Boxer Husband Dad

(148 characters, we’ve reached below the 160 goal)

Not quite finished!

Add some hashtags, which will become hyperlinked (blue) so the Bio more readily appears in search listings:

Prof Criminal #Forensic #Science #Psychology @HolmesUni Teach CriminalPsychopathy #Army #Medical Forensics @C-DoylePrize | #Crime #Writer #Boxer Husband Dad (156 characters)

(Note how one word to do with Forensics and Crime is hash-tagged)

Still have 4 characters left to fill. Add another interest or make the Bio more readable.

Prof of Criminal #Forensic #Science #Psychology @HolmesUni Teach CriminalPsychopathy #Army #Medical Forensics @C-DoylePrize | #Crime #Writer #Boxer Husband Dad (159 characters)

FINISHED! What an eye-catching and functional Twitter bio! If more need to be said it can be put it in the Banner.

***(Please note that many feel it necessary to indicate their Tweets are their and not the views of their employer. In which case just write Views Own at the end of the bio.)***

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About Dr Jojo Scoble

Freelance Science Communicator. Microbiology PhD Oxon. Fiction Writer. Social Media dilettante. Ideas Factory.
This entry was posted in academia, blogging, microblogging, Twitter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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